Positive breakthrough in prevention of breast cancer relapses

Breast cancer is Australia’s third most prevalent cancer with 12,670 diagnoses every year. The good news is that 87.8% of breast cancer patients survive the following five years cancer free, however no matter how long you’ve been considered cured for the scary thought of relapsing always stays in your mind.

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A new study led by Lund University has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of cancer tumours and it also reduces the risk of recurrence in women who had cancer treated with the drug tamoxifen.

Researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol for the study have said, “Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all,”

“The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumors and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumors. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis.”

The researchers looked more closely at two substances that usually occur in the coffee drunk in Sweden — caffeine and caffeic acid.

“The breast cancer cells reacted to these substances, especially caffeine, with reduced cell division and increased cell death, especially in combination with tamoxifen. This shows that these substances have an effect on the breast cancer cells and turn off signalling pathways that the cancer cells require to grow,” the research team said said.

The study demonstrated that coffee appears to reinforce the effect of treatment with tamoxifen in both breast cancer patients and at cell level showing the thoroughness of the study.

So tell us, are you a regular coffee drinker?